Could I be beautiful without petroleum?

Like Alina, the Closet Environmentalist, I have a love for potions, lotions and products that supposedly make me beautiful. Unlike Alina, I’m only now trying to wean myself away from them.

This started when I began to look at where my lotions were made. Spain, Thailand, Italy and the US made for a multicultural bunch, but also a lot of resources and carbon emissions to bring them to me. I started looking for products made in Australia, and searching for those tiny words, made me notice the ingredient lists full of petroleum derivatives (mineral oil, paraffin, propylene glycol), parabens, phthalates, etc. Then it occurred to me that so many different moisturisers (face, hand, night, body, and in times past foot lotion) are just a bit excessive.

I went to my local health food and organic shops and found quite a selection. The most eye-catching, because of the pretty floral packaging, was Avalon Organics, but it’s made in the US, so I had to stick with the boringly packaged Australian made ones. I chose Natural Instinct.

  • Made with plant oils and organic herbs
  • no Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (although Treehugger tells me SLS isn’t such a problem)
  • no animal products or testing
  • no harmful chemicals
  • no artificial whatevers

But it was the lack of petroleum derivatives I was looking for. Despite the salesperson telling me it smelled like lavender I stupidly thought, “I don’t mind the smell of fresh lavender.” I hadn’t realised it wouldn’t smell like the plant, but rather Gran’s hanky drawer. I’m currently using it on my hands because the smell wears off pretty soon.

Then I found Nature’s Elements at the local chemist, not just Australian made, but made in a suburb of Perth, Wanneroo. It has a similar list of un-gredients to the above. It doesn’t state no petroleum derivatives, but looking at the ingredients, there are none listed – so I’m happy. They have a different moisturizer for face, hand, body and night. I thought I’d get the body one and use it all over, but it’s a bit too heavy for my face. Yesterday I got the face moisturiser. It’s not as light as I’d like, but I’ll try it for a few weeks and see if I get used to it. It smells of vanilla (yummy) and that might sway me.

green flower on flickr by Leonardo Martins Nature’s Elements makes a cleanser but I thought I’d really go natural and use cucumber slices. It comes in its own biodegradable wrapping and all you need for access is a reusable knife. When I was little my mum would rub a slice of cucumber on her face whenever she cut some for salad. When I was looking for a replacement cleanser I noticed that the one I used had cucumber extracts and I remembered my mum’s habit. I asked her how well cucumber worked and she said she only did it because her mum had. If it’s that tried and tested, there must be something to it. I’m onto my second cucumber and it’s going well so far. I might have to try growing them, pollination with a paintbrush and all.

I sometimes get zits. I used to use a special acne wash, but my friend’s mum suggested witch hazel. It’s a distillation of the witch hazel plant and the product I found is made in the US, but I bought it anyway (it was half the price of what I was using). Nature’s Elements makes a toner with witch hazel. It was free when I bought another of their products, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Nail Polish at the Arab Market on flickr by srrf I used to use foundation and mascara, but I rarely do these days. If I go back to using them, I’ll deal with that then. One vice I can’t give up at this point in time is nail polish (complete with phthalates). I need purple, blue or green nails!


3 thoughts on “Could I be beautiful without petroleum?

  1. I’m all about natural products and not into the essential oils ‘smells’ in lotions anymore. I was finding it made my body and joints ache. Whatever we put on our skin makes it to all our internal organs within 1 minute – scary stuff!! Anyway, it’s a US company, but if you want to find absolutely the most environmentally conscious company and the first company to be certified carbon neutral, you should be writing about Shaklee. They’re going global to 45 countries in the next few years and Austrailia will be one of them. You can check it out at – lotions without petrolium or any other harmful stuff. Just vitamins derived from nature….

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